Tuesday, February 12, 2013
UPDATE (corrects age, adds services) Actor Kevin Gray of Westport, a Staples High School graduate who became the youngest actor to play the title role in “The Phantom of the Opera” on Broadway, died Feb. 11 after suffering a heart attack at home. He was 54.
Gray is survived his wife, Dodie Pettit, whom he met while starring in Broadway’s “Phantom.”
In 2011, Gray had begun as an associate professor of theater at The Hartt School at the University of Hartford.
Prior to taking up he teaching position, Gray recently starred as Scar in the National Tour of Disney’s “The Lion King.”
According to Broadwayworld.com, he has also toured the United Kingdom as The King in “The King and I,” reprising his role from the Broadway revival of Rogers and Hammerstein’s classic, in which he became only the third actor in history to play the role on Broadway.
Gray starred as Pontius Pilate in the Broadway revival of “Jesus Christ Superstar” and starred in Harold Prince’s production of “Showboat,” as Gaylord Ravenal.
Friends are invited to greet his family on Saturday, Feb. 16 from noon to 4 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 17 from noon to 3 p.m. at the Shaughnessey Banks Funeral Home, 50 Reef Road, Fairfield. Interment will be private.
The family issued the following obituary:
Popular Broadway performer, educator, and lifelong Westport resident Kevin Gray died suddenly at home of heart failure on February 11, 2013. He was 54.
Gray appeared in more than 8,500 Broadway and national tour performances, acting in or directing more than 150 productions.
These included starring on Broadway in the title role in The Phantom of the Opera as the youngest “Phantom” ever. He also starred in Broadway productions of Jesus Christ Superstar, The King and I and Chu Chem, in national tours of The King and I, Phantom, and The Lion King, and in productions of Show Boat, A Chorus Line, Kiss of the Spider Woman, and Miss Saigon, among many others.
His off-Broadway credits included Pacific Overtures, The Knife and The Death of Garcia Lorca. Mr. Gray also created the title roles in Dracula The Covenant at the Stonington Opera House, written by Mr. Gray and his wife Dodie Pettit, and in Billie Brown’s Colorados, directed by Paul Giovanni at The Mount Gretna Playhouse.
Gray’s TV appearances included guest roles on Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Ryan’s Hope, The Guiding Light, The Equalizer and Miami Vice. He also appeared in the film White Hot.
Throughout his extremely prolific career, Gray was the recipient of many awards, including the National Institute For Music Theatre Award, the Dora Mavor Moore (Canada’s Tony Award) and Los Angeles Dramalogue awards for his performances as The Engineer in the Los Angeles and Toronto productions of Miss Saigon, and the Carbonelle Award for his work in Phantom of the Opera.
Gray appeared regularly with the symphony tour Three Phantoms in Concert. His many concert appearances included performances at Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, and Alice Tully Hall.
In addition to Magdalena and The Complete Miss Saigon, Mr. Gray also created a solo album, It’s My Time to Shine, Broadway’s Fabulous Phantoms, and two recordings by Dodie Pettit: Voices of Broadway, a joint venture with Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, and Songs from the Journey.
He was also the audio voice of many books including works by Stephen King, Michael Crichton, Nick Hornby, Lian Hearn, Alvin and Heidi Toeffler, John Yokoyama, Larry Bossidy, and Ram Charan.
He also recorded a musical children’s book, A Frog’s Tale, which he co-authored with Ms. Pettit.
A graduate of Staples High School and Duke University, Gray served as an associate professor on the faculty of The Hartt School at the University of Hartford, and had served on the faculty of Rollins College in Florida. Over the course of his career, Gray also contributed time as a volunteer with students in Westport and other communities.
Gray was the beloved husband of Dodie Pettit, with whom he appeared in the Broadway production of Phantom of the Opera and in other productions, and was the son of the late Neal and Rose (Chann) Gray. In addition to Pettit, he is survived by his sister, Linda Hrycaj and her husband Bob, nephew Nick, and niece Emily, all of Colorado; his cats, Boris and Natasha; and many friends and colleagues.
Friends are invited to greet his family on Saturday, February 16th from noon to 4:00 p.m. and Sunday, February 17th from noon to 3:00 p.m. at the Shaughnessey Banks Funeral Home, 50 Reef Rd. in Fairfield Center. Interment will be private.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Kevin’s name to the Pet Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), 504 Main Ave., Norwalk, CT 06851 or http://www.pawsct.org, or the Connecticut Dance School, 42 Halley Ct., Fairfield, CT 06825 or http://www.ctdanceschool.com.
Posted 02/12/13 at 04:04 PM
I was saddened to learn of the death of Kevin Gray, an old friend and a great talent. I knew Kevin and his sister Linda since infancy. His mother Rosie and father Neal were my good friends. Kevin offered so much and will be missed by so many.
My sympathies to his wife Dodie.
This news made my heart stop. I worked with Kevin on “Kiss of the Spider Woman” years ago, and he was the warmest, most inclusive guy in the cast (even though he was the lead).
About a year ago, I ran into him at a Coleytown musical and discovered he lived around the corner. It was as though he hadn’t missed a day, and we promised each other we’d get together to catch up—as soon as life wasn’t so busy…
55? My god…
Kevin and his wife Dodie have long been tremendous assets in a town like Westport where so many students dream of a life in theater. They have consistently given wholeheartedly of themselves to the Westport school system and its many students who have also sought private coaching over the years by Broadway’s elite. The world has lost an amazing talent and a generous, modest spirit far too soon. We are sending Dodie our heartfelt love.
The Molesworth Family
Kevin and Dodie have been very special to me and my staff. We are so saddened to hear of this tragic loss. Kevin was a beautiful man he was talented, kind, loving, thoughtful, giving and he most definitely loved Dodie. He will be greatly missed. Much love to Dodie. “Gone too soon”
Frankie Lee Smith